Tag Archives: dancing

Reveling Robots Rule the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade

2 Nov
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Terminator Robot Gets Things Started

     One of the most anticipated annual parades kicks off at 7PM each Halloween on 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village, NYC. New Yorkers are among the most creative in the country and the Halloween parade is the premiere display of that ingenuity. Not only is the parade one of the largest night parades, it is the biggest Halloween party on the planet. The hundreds of thousands of revelers that came out on a warm night sure got an eyeful of some of the craziest and scariest costumes. I met marchers that put on a costume over 25 years ago and bring their kids to the parade. That’s what’s great about this parade….all you need is a costume and you can march with the rest of the crowd. This year’s theme was I Am a Robot and there were plenty of robot themed costumes displayed.

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Robots Dancing the Night Away

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Lord of What the Hell!!

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Mistress and her Diabolic Robotic Bodyguards

     Parade director, Jeanne Fleming, always does an amazing job organizing the vast number of creatives assembling some the hundreds of puppets on display that turn 6th Avenue from the hustle and bustle of a fast city into a magical mystical wonderland for a few hours. As usual, the white angels start the parade with blessings and spreading the pixie dust for good vibes. Parade organizers march up with the hundreds of puppets and volunteers at the start of  the parade to get the crowd ready for a wild Halloween night.  Brass bands were really having a fun time with the crowd. The 3 Million Majority Marching Band had some good energy. A creative float that fit the night’s theme was the Welcome to Metropolis group. They were a lot of fun.

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Day Of the Dead  

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Triple Face Scare

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Robot on a Tinder Date

     A few perennial favorites that keep growing are the SambaNY dancers and drum band. They really got into it. And of course everyone’s favorite Michael Jackson Thriller group never disappoint with some great choreography and costumes. The Maracatu NY group always makes some good noise with their drumming. The Ghostbusters group was seen chasing some scared ghosts around. A newbie from Staten Island that really rocked out was the Vampire Rock Opera. They had a mean bass line and really got the crowd worked up.

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     Thousands of marchers in costumes help make this annual NY ritual one of the best parades in the city and a must see if you’ve never been. You will want to keep coming back for more.   Scare Ya Next Year.

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Halloween Parade Director Jeanne Fleming

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Who Pissed Off Freddie Off?

 

Hispanic Heritage Month Ends With A Grand Finale Parade on 5th Avenue

15 Oct
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Start of a Grand Parade

     A month long celebration of National Hispanic Heritage finished with one of the largest parades of its kind in the world. Each Spanish speaking country in the Western Hemisphere and Mother Country, Spain, sent representatives  to display costumes,  dance, folkloric tradition and great pride to the parade route on 5th Avenue. Revelers brought out their flags to display on the railings from 44th up to 66th streets.

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Traditional Spaniard Dancers

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Flamenco Style Dancers

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Tango Dancers Heating Things Up

     Right around noon, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. This year, the honorary lead band was a Brooklyn-based Panamanian Bugle and Drums Corp blaring their trumpets and beating the drum while a large group behind them displayed each participating nations flag.  They handled the prestigious honor with style and set the tone for what would be an amazing day of cultural pride.

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Spanish Artist Leyton Showing His Work

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Happy Venezuelan

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Bolivians Taking Over

 

     Parade VIPs and dignitaries march up the parade route to the reviewing stands and stage for the televised portion of the parade on 64th street. There are judges present to award a particular group for best cultural representation. As usual, Spain leads the way with artists, traditional attire and music to get the crowd worked up. Participating countries proceed in alphabetical order. Argentina got things under way with a group of amazing tango dancers.

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San Simon Caporales Kicking It in High Gear

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Chilenos Handkerchief Dance

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Birds of a Feather…

 

     Each year, one of the largest groups to participate are the Bolivians. Their diverse culture has Tincus, Morenales, and the high energy San Simon Caporales in their sparkling costumes. They have hundreds of marchers with some of the most colorful costumes of the parade. They were soon followed by the cowboy clad group from Chile. Another large group with colorful costumes comes from Colombia. They had a group dressed as birds as Colombia is known as the #1 country for bird watching. A group dancing cumbia, a traditional dance, showed off their moves.

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Costa Ricans Having Fun

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Cafe Tarrazu Group Makes Some Noise

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Dominican Lechones Taking Selfies

 

     Costa Rica was a surprise hit with a snazzy marching band called Banda Municipal Cafe Tarrazu. The band came up from Costa Rica just for the event and they played very well. The Dominican Republic had some playful diablos called Lechones. I caught a pair taking a selfie. Ecuador sent their traditional dancers.  El Salvador had two marching bands from Boston to compete. The first one, Banda Sombrero Azul got things warmed up for a perennial favorite, Banda El Carbonero.  Guatemala and Honduras were well represented.

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Puerto Rico Is Rising Again

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Aztec Nation Wants to be Heard

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Folkloric Mexican Danza de Los Tecuanes

     Mexico had a nice variety of cultural representation with mariachi singers, Aztec dancers, and a group doing  La Danza de Los Tecuanes, an agricultural folkloric tradition of chasing away the jaguar.  Mixed in the large Mexican group were representatives from Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. Another group getting larger each year comes from Paraguay. One of the most impressive groups comes from Panama. The females wear the traditional polleras and the men wear the guayaberas. Panama had two bands that stole the show. The military style Instituto America from Panama City, Panama was well choreographed. They were followed by the Centro Cultural China Panamena which displayed an Asian influence.

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Stunning Panamanian Float

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Military Band From Panama

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Uruguayan Drummers Playing Candombe Music

     Peru had a smaller group than in previous years. Not sure what happened this year. Uruguay took to the streets again with their bright colored drummers playing Candombe, an African influenced dance with scantily clad dancers getting everyone worked up. Venezuela closed out the parade with colorful costumes.

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Paraguayan Marchers

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Happy Panamanians

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Venezuelans Marching with Pride

 

     No other parade in the city other than the Dance parade brings as many various cultures together. Hispanics share the same language but have a wide variety of traditions, cultural influences and their own story to tell. In this one parade, it’s all on display for the city and all Hispanics to be proud of.

 

 

 

Que Viva La Hispanidad…..

 

West Indians Dazzle on a Sizzling Labor Day in Brooklyn

4 Sep
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Fierce Dragon Getting Ready to Fire Things Up

 

     The familiar smoky aroma of cooked meats coming from the hundreds of food kiosks lined up the parade route on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn USA made for an enticing start of what would be a sizzling parade. The tropical like weather certainly made you feel like you were in one of the any of the Caribbean island nations celebrating their culture and raising their flags. While there were plenty of pina coladas , fresh juices, and bottled water to soothe your thirst, I was in search of some coconut water right out of the coconut. Finally found a vendor who cut up the fruit with his machete and I was delightfully happy to enjoy one of the best kinds of water Mother Nature has given us. Then I learned how to use a piece of the hulk to eat the meat of the coconut. I was definitely going Islander today. Since the parade is held on Labor Day, I had the chance to speak with local grass-root organizers about issues that affect every day workers and immigration rights and an end to US colonialism especially with regards to Puerto Rico.

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NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Getting Votes

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Getting Fierce for the Parade

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Amazing Float

     Parade organizers made their way up the parade route just past Washington St. where reviewing stands were set up for judges to rate the various groups on originality and costumes. There were plenty of costumes and groups to judge as this is one of the largest parades in the City. Hundreds of thousands march and dance in the parade and well over 1 million people come out to enjoy the sights and sounds of all things Caribbean. Kicking things off were the NYPD Steel Drum and Brass Band. They got the early crowd into the festivities with some nice tunes. As usual, local politicians greeting the crowd. This being an election year for NYS Governor, both Democratic candidates, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and contender Cynthia Nixon were present trying to win votes. After all the politicians and VIPs made their way up the parade route, then the fun started. The first of many groups with stylish costumes was Blue Wave with designer Donna Dove and her group getting the crowd worked up. They did a great job.

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Costume Designer Donna Dove and her Blue Wave Creation

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Warrior Princess

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Masqueraders Having Fun

     The part that most people come out to see are the colorful costumes the masqueraders wear as they follow the big tractor trailers with huge speakers playing all the hits. You can jump over the railing on Eastern Parkway starting at Utica Ave. and go all the way to Washington St. and join in and dance with your favorite group…hop on a train and go back to Utica Ave. and do it all over again. Only in NY. One group that has great costumes and wows the crowd is Stronjeh  Intl. They had an amazing display. One of the best things to see is when groups following the tractor trailers are asked to raise their flags to represent their country. The largest group of the parade and celebrating their 10th year was the ever popular Ramajay Mas. They always set the bar to what masqueraders and good music to entertain the crowd. Their grand finale at the judges stand was amazing. To date many have tried to copy but no group has yet to surpass their energy and dominance of parade floats. They had plenty of competition though. Right behind them were the Dingolay group with their black devil costumes. That group was sizzling the streets even more than the hot temperature. Another group that was having lots of fun was the Kaios float. They were pretty good.

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Impressive Float

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Dazzling Beauties

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Having Fun at the Parade

This is truly one of the best parades in the City. Delicious food, soothing drinks, great music, stunning costumes and floats…it’s Carnival in the streets of New York.

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Happy Carnival

 

 

Thousands Dancing For Peace on Broadway

21 May
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Dancing Rubies Having Fun

     The mid-Spring heatwave broke just in time for a cool weather day to help the thousands of dancers participating in the 11th annual Dance Parade. Each year the young parade has been gaining more popularity with dancers coming from all over the country and as far as China to celebrate the most ancient of art forms right here in the dance capital of the world, NYC. All kinds of dance forms were on display which makes this parade one of the best in the city. It’s all about dance and the diversity in which it brings. Lots of people on the parade route starting on Broadway and 21st St. stopped to marvel at the costumes and unique moves…whether it’s from the Bolivians colorful costumes or the Caribbean cultures bringing the heat or the house music coalition or Indian Bhangra or the sultry belly dancers… everyone was having fun dancing. The parade helps to raise awareness of some of the most archaic cabaret laws in the city that prohibit three or more people from dancing at a club or bar with a cabaret license, which is almost impossible to obtain. There has been a more enthusiastic push to change the cabaret laws especially with a more receptive mayor in office. With more pressure and common sense, the city can loosen the Prohibition era law and allow people to dance when and where they choose to.

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Capoeira Dancers Going At It

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Bolivian Tinkus Giving It Their All

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Enough Said

 

     This years Dance Parade theme is Dance for Peace and there were plenty of good willed dancers out having a good time starting with Dancers of Universal Peace kicking things off.  Parade revelers were treated to a special guest as Grand Marshall Mestre Joao Grande of Capoeira fame was on the first float.  The 500 year old Afro-Brazilian art form was displayed by two groups that amazed the judges by the Astor Place reviewing stands. The thunderous drum band heard a block away was gaining momentum as Fogo Azul got the crowd worked up for what would be an amazing day of music and dance. Of all the ethnic groups that participate in the parade, the Bolivians bring their best. Their groups are broken up into the high energy indigenous Tinkus, the sequined cowboy/cowgirl costumed Caporales dedicated to San Simon (St. Paul), and the methodical Morenales. They come from all over the country to represent Bolivian dance and culture. As a prelude to the West Indian Parade, two Caribbean groups really got the crowd worked up. If you weren’t dancing by then, you literally have no pulse. Slowing things down somewhat were a sultry group of dancers named Dancing Rubies. They put on a really good show. The international groups were really up to the task of showing off their moves. Groups with ties to Mexico, China, India, Brazil, Spain, and Korea were seen having lots of fun dancing it up. Probably the best thing is how many young kids were at the parade in costume learning their traditional dances. Bravo.

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Dance Royalty Maurice Hines

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Belly Dancers to the Rescue

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Swinging Into Action

 

     Parade revelers were treated to Dance Royalty when Grand Marshall Maurice Hines and his float of young tap dancers arrived to everyone’s delight. At 72, he can out dance most people half his age. A group named Flowers of Hope got the crowd worked up with their belly dancing. They were soon followed by the all female drum band and parade favorite Batala. Another NYC favorite, the Cobras stepped up their game with moves imitating their charismatic band leader. Closing out the parade were the young dance group, XDance showing off their Salsa dance moves. They were real good and their membership keeps growing each year. The after parade festival continued into Tompkins Square Park where stages were set up to instruct students from 5 to 95 on dancing and keep the party going.

 

 

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